Your CV is usually the first thing a prospective employer sees about you. It showcases your experience as a physician as well as your education, skills, qualifications, publications and other information that may influence a hiring decision. It is the main tool employers use to distinguish between candidates.
A good place to start is the AAP Career Center which has resources on preparing a CV and cover letter.
Following are essential elements for your CV:
- Name: Your full legal name
- Contact Information: Address, phone number and email address
- Education and Medical Training:
- Post-Graduate Training – Includes Residency/Internship
- Medical School
- Practice Experience: Name of Practice/Hospital, Location, Title, Type of Practice, Brief Description
- Licensure: State and license number or the status of applications for licensure
- Professional affiliations and medical association memberships: e.g. American Academy of Pediatrics/Section on Pediatric Trainees and/or Section on Early Career Physicians
- Certifications – Board Certification or Status: List month, year and board certificate number (if still in process, state your current status)
- Include any basic or advanced life support training including BLS, ALS, PALS, and Neonatal Resuscitation Program
- Activities and committee memberships, including roles and brief descriptions of associated accomplishments (e.g. projects you managed, leadership or managerial skills - clinical and nonclinical)
- Leadership experience
- Honors and awards
- Research experience
- Publications and presentations. As you gain more experience, you may divide this into peer- reviewed publications, non-peer-reviewed publications, and poster presentations.
Some additional elements you may include if applicable:
- Academic appointments
- Quality improvement and continuous improvement involvement
- Community service or volunteer experience
- Lectures or teaching portfolio
- Procedural skills
- Languages spoken
Proof, double proof and triple proof the information. Accuracy is essential. It may be a good idea to send your CV to a mentor or faculty advisor for feedback and you may even ask to see their CV as a reference. When formatting your CV, avoid unusual fonts or formats that are difficult to read.
Because you may be asked to provide your CV even when you are not applying for a job it’s a good idea to keep your CV updated as an official record of your professional achievements. You will continue to edit your CV throughout your career. For example, your medical school CV will include undergraduate accomplishments, but after residency you may want to edit your CV to include only the major activities/honors from your undergraduate time. Be sure to add new publications and presentations as appropriate.
Once your CV is done, you need to create a cover letter to submit with your application. In general, the cover letter expresses your interest in a position, summarizes your qualifications, and aligns your skill sets and experience to the needs of an employer. Do this without being too obvious. Sublteltyis important. All of this is accomplished in a direct, well-written letter. Target the cover letter to each specific position and employer.
Be sure to explain any gaps in training or employment. Brief and clear explanations are best. During your interview you elaborate. Describe what the gap experience taught you to be a better doctor.
An effective CV and cover letter are often deciding factors on whether you’re contacted for an interview. The person hiring for the job will look at these documents to gain an understanding of your training, experience, volunteerism, and most importantly, what makes you standout from the other applicants. Substance and style matter. Vital information should be included. Your letter and experience must create a professional image.
American Academy of Pediatrics